Tag Archives: mario

Mario Gotze signs for Bayern Munich, blow Arsenal Manchester City

Pep talk! City and Arsenal miss out on Gotze as Bayern close in on 32m deal

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

05:53 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:09 GMT, 23 April 2013

Arsenal and Manchester City look to have missed on Borussia Dortmund star Mario Gotze after reports in Germany claimed he has agreed to join Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.

The 20-year-old has emerged as one of the most coveted talents in Europe but it is the Bavarian giants who look to have won the race after triggering the forward's €37million (32m) release clause.

The Germany international has, according to Bild, already signed a long-term deal with $7m a year (6m).

All smiles: Mario Gotze (right) is reportedly set to join Bayern Munich in the summer

All smiles: Mario Gotze (right) is reportedly set to join Bayern Munich in the summer

Gotze, who could face his new employees in the Champions League final at Wembley on May 25, has scored 14 goals for his club this season and has won 22 caps for Germany.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had been prepared to finally splash the cash this summer and meet the Gotze's clause but he will now have to look elsewhere.

The youngster had looked set to remain at the Westfalenstadion
for another year having apparently set his sights on a move to Barcelona.

Main man: Gotze (left) has been tracked by the biggest clubs in Europe including Manchester City

Main man: Gotze (left) has been tracked by the biggest clubs in Europe including Manchester City

‘I am very happy at Dortmund and
satisfied with the way we are progressing as a team,’ he said earlier this month. ‘Any
thoughts about playing for another team are very much for the future,
but Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United could be interesting.

'But I'm not thinking of that at the moment.

'I'm happy in Dortmund and very happy how things are going. Therefore, it is still a bit away'

Mario Gotze urinates in Malaga"s stadium

Dortmund star Gotze caught on camera urinating in Malaga's stadium

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

09:08 GMT, 4 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:47 GMT, 4 April 2013

Dortmund's Mario Gotze was spotted urinating on the ground in Malaga's stadium ahead of their Champions League clash.

During training on Tuesday he went behind some advertising hoardings to grab a stray ball, and took the opportunity to duck down and take a secret leak.

Scroll down for video

Peek-a-boo: Mario Gotze takes a leak and halfway through turns his head and sees the camera (below)

Peek-a-boo: Mario Gotze takes a leak and halfway through turns his head and sees the camera (below)

Gotze notices the camera

Except
it didn't turn out to be all that secret as he was caught on camera –
and this footage has since been broadcast by Canal+ and Spanish TV.

During the act, Gotze peeks round and spots the camera filming him, but finishes up anyway.

He then grabs the ball and gets back to the training session.

VIDEO: Cheeky Gotze takes a leak in Malaga's stadium

Mario Gotze was spotted urinating on the ground in Malaga's…

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Mario Balotelli helps AC Milan beat Chievo 1-0

Balotelli inspires Milan to victory over Chievo as race for Champions League spots hots up

PUBLISHED:

20:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

Mario Balotelli helped AC Milan take a huge step towards securing Champions League football by playing a major role in the Rossoneri’s win over Chievo Verona.

Milan moved provisionally into second place in Serie A after they won 1-0 and Fiorentina and Roma both lost.

The win lifts Milan six points above fourth-place Fiorentina as the race for next seasons Champions League hots up.

Helping hand: Mario Balotelli played his part in Milan's win

Helping hand: Mario Balotelli played his part in Milan's win

Beating his man: Balotelli skips past Luca Rigoni

Beating his man: Balotelli skips past Luca Rigoni

Celebration time: AC Milan's midfielder Riccardo Montolivo celebrates with Balotelli and teammates after scoring

Celebration time: AC Milan's midfielder Riccardo Montolivo celebrates with Balotelli and teammates after scoring

Chievo goalkeeper Christian Puggioni could only parry Balotelli's fierce free kick and Riccardo Montolivo was quickest to react and smashed home the rebound.

Dario Dainelli was sent off for Chievo following a second booking 13 minutes from time.

Real Madrid greats past and present: Alfredo Di Stefano awards Cristiano Ronaldo with trophy for La Liga"s best player

Real Madrid greats past and present:
Di Stefano awards Ronaldo with trophy for La Liga's best player

season” class=”blkBorder” />

La Liga's best Ronaldo was awarded the trophy based on his efforts in the 2011/2012 season

Frail: But Di Stefano is still treated with the respect he deserves

Frail: But Di Stefano is still treated with the respect he deserves

'In our neighborhood we used to hold major football sessions that went on until it got dark, with everyone playing against each other,' he said. 'Maybe the pope was one of the guys I played football with in the street.

'At that time I was the famous one because from a very young age I belonged to River Plate’s youth team, everybody knew me,' added Di Stefano, widely regarded as the finest player of his generation for his significant influence in leading Real to five consecutive European Cups, before revealing he had missed the pope's introduction.

Childhood friends Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, grew up in the same area as Di Stefano

Childhood friends Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, grew up in the same area as Di Stefano

'I must confess that while everyone else watched the white smoke live, I saw it later. I was, as always, watching a football game.

'[Ronaldo] He is a great player and a team player. I am very happy.'

THE REAL GREATS: ALFREDO DI STEFANO V CRISTIANO RONALDO

Alfredo Di Stefano

Alfredo Di Stefano

Date of birth: 4 July 1926
Place of Birth: Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Position: Forward

Clubs: River Plate (1945, 1947-49 ), Huracn (1946), Millonarios (1949-52), Real Madrid (1953-64), Espanyol (1964-66).
National Team: 31 matches (23 goals) with Spain; 6 matches (6 goals) with Argentina

Honours
5 European Cups (Real Madrid, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960)
1 Intercontinental Cup (Real Madrid, 1960)
1 America cup (River Plate, 1947)
8 Spanish leagues (Real Madrid, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964)
1 Spanish Cup (Real Madrid, 1962)
2 Argentinian leagues (River Plate, 1945, 1947)
4 Colombian leagues (Millonarios Bogot, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953)

La Liga's best Ronaldo was awarded the trophy based on his efforts in the 2011/2012 season

Cristiano Ronaldo

Date of birth: 4 July 1926
Place of Birth: Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Position: Forward

Clubs: Sporting Lisbon (2001-2003), Manchester United (2003-2009), Real Madrid (2009-present).
National Team: 101 matches (38 goals) with Portugal

Honours
1 European Cup (Manchester United, 2008)
3 Premier Leagues (Manchester United, 2007, 2008, 2009) 1 FA Cup (Manchester United, 2004) 1 League Cup (Manchester United, 2006) 1 Spanish league (Real Madrid, 2012) 1 Spanish Cup (Real Madrid, 2011)
1 Spanish Super Cup (Real Madrid, 2012) 1 Portuguese League (Sporting Lisbon, 2002 1 Portuguese Super Cup (Sporting Lisbon, 2002) 1 Portuguese Cup (Sporting Lisbon, 2002)

VIDEO: REAL MADRID GREAT ALFREDO DI STEFANO AT HIS PEAK

Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano graces the Bernabeu

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Inter Milan 1 AC Milan 1: Mario Balotelli misses several chances

Inter Milan 1 AC Milan 1: Balotelli misses raft of chances and his side are made to pay by supersub Schelotto

PUBLISHED:

21:40 GMT, 24 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 24 February 2013

Mario Balotelli only had himself to blame as AC Milan were pegged back by fierce rivals Inter in Serie clash at the San Siro.

The striker missed several opportunities as Milan dominated the first half, opening the scoring through Stephan El Shaarawy.

Inter fought back in the second period, substitute Ezequiel Schelotto equalising with a powerful header.

Whoops: Mario Balotelli can't make the contact with the ball he desires and Samir Handanovic collects it

Whoops: Mario Balotelli can't make the contact with the ball he desires and Samir Handanovic collects it

Temper temper: Balotelli argues with Inter stalwart Javier Zanetti

Temper temper: Balotelli argues with Inter stalwart Javier Zanetti

How about that Inter came from behind when Ezequiel Schelotto powered in a header

How about that Inter came from behind when Ezequiel Schelotto powered in a header

More to follow.

Mario Balotelli has one last blast at Manchester in his first AC Milan press conference

One last blast: Mario moans about the food, the traffic and the weather in Manchester, but admits he will miss the best league in the world and the fans

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

19:37 GMT, 1 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:48 GMT, 1 February 2013

Mario Balotelli couldn’t resist one last blast at life in Manchester as he became officially an AC Milan player last night.

The 22-year-old wild child who never settled at City thanked Roberto Mancini for all his support during two and a half turbulent seasons.

But he then insisted he had no regrets at ending his adventure in England.

Star man: Mario Balotelli (pictured) poses with the shirt of his new club

One last blast: Mario Balotelli (pictured) poses with the shirt of his new club, after having a go at the food, weather and traffic found in Manchester

Candid: Balotelli sits next AC Milan sporting director Adriano Galliani at the press conference

Candid: Balotelli sits next AC Milan sporting director Adriano Galliani at the press conference

He said: ‘I have no regrets about leaving. I have to say this all the City fans were so nice to me and supported me in the bad moments, and I would like to thank Roberto Mancini for all the support he gave me.

‘I will miss the Premier League which I think is the best in the world, and the crowds at games.

‘But I am not going to miss the food, the weather, and the traffic and everything else.’

Balotelli scores in his behind-closed-doors friendly with Serie D side Darfo Boario

Balotelli scores in a friendly with Serie D side Darfo Boario earlier this week…

...and tries a trick in training

…and tries a trick in training

Hordes of Milan fans descended on the San Siro to welcome his arrival at the club he supported.

Asked if it would be pressure to join the club, he said: ‘There is no weight on me to play for Milan, I am happy, I want to be part of the team, and I am here to win.

‘I am back here and it has always been my dream to play for Milan.

‘It is important for me to be here where I can be near to my friends and family.’

Balotelli is in line to make his debut at home to Udinese tomorrow night – due to be shown live in England on ESPN.

Mohawks: Balotelli M'Baye Niang (left) and Stephan El Shaarawy (right) pose with their almost-matching haircuts

Mohawks: Balotelli M'Baye Niang (left) and Stephan El Shaarawy (right) pose with their almost-matching haircuts

AC Milan the only option for Mario Balotelli after Juventus cool interest in signing Man City striker

Milan the only option for Balotelli after Juventus cool their interest

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

12:05 GMT, 29 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:14 GMT, 29 January 2013

Mario Balotelli hopes of a return to
Serie A are resting with AC Milan after Juventus distanced themselves
from a move for the Manchester City striker.

Despite mounting speculation that
Juve had joined Milan in the race to sign him, Sportsmail understands
they have no interest in him and are happy to leave the way clear for
their Serie A rivals.

Transfer talks: Milan have made offer for Man City striker Mario Balotelli

Transfer talks: Milan have made offer for Man City striker Mario Balotelli

Manager Antonio Conte is content with his current striking options, particularly after wrapping up a deal for Athletic Bilbao marksman Fernando Llorente.

Additionally, they have taken former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka on a five-month loan.

Baloteli is now anxiously waiting to see if Milan can come up with an acceptable offer. They are ready to pay up to 20million, City are holding out for 24m.

Mario Balotelli hammers free-kick past Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi… sort of

VIDEO: Balotelli hammers free-kick past Messi, Iniesta and Xavi in Barcelona wall… sort of

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

11:22 GMT, 10 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:22 GMT, 10 January 2013

Mario Balotelli knows how to liven up a Manchester City training session – he's had plenty of practice.

But it wasn't manager Roberto Mancini that the striker was trying to get the better of this time.

He shoots, he scores: Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was impressive as he practised free-kicks

He shoots, he scores: Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was impressive as he practised free-kicks

Balotelli brought in Lionel Messi as he lined up a free-kick during a dead-ball drill. He also had Messi's Barcelona team-mates Xavi and Andres Inietsa in the wall – although they looked very much like the the training-round dummies used by clubs up and down the country.

Balotelli can be heard giving the plastic figures the names of the Barca stars before slamming one into the top corner to put the cap on a fine exhibition of shooting.

Aleksandar Kolarov, Scott Sinclair and James Milner also impressed and you can watch them all in our clip below.

Mario Balotelli"s brother Enoch Barwuah arrested for assault in Italy

Balotelli's brother Enoch arrested for assaulting two policemen in Italy

|

UPDATED:

13:31 GMT, 25 December 2012

In trouble: Mario Balotelli's (left) brother Enoch Barwuah (right) was arrested in Italy for assaulting two police officers

In trouble: Mario Balotelli's (left) brother Enoch Barwuah (right) was arrested in Italy for assaulting two police officers

Manchester City star Mario Balotelli's brother appeared in an Italian court on Christmas Eve accused of assaulting two policemen.

Enoch Barwuah, 20, who had trials with Stoke City and Sunderland before signing for Salford City last month, was held after a brawl at a bar and kept in custody until his appearance before a judge.

The court heard how he had been attacked as he drank in a bar in Brescia with his sister Abigail by a man who ripped his shirt but Barwuah then turned on police who had been called by the owner.

Officers said they found him in the street shirtless and barefooted and when they approached they were kicked and punched, while their squad car was also damaged in the incident.

The court bailed Barwuah to his home address in Brescia until January 3, when he will have a fast track trial accused of a assault and resisting arrest. At his hearing he apologised and said his reactions had been 'unjustified' but he had become concerned after his sister 'felt ill' during the attack.

Barwuah is Balotelli's younger brother and apart from Abigail he also has a sister Angel – they remained with his natural parents while he was adopted as a baby by a wealthy Italian couple.

Joe Hart: Nothing wrong with Manchester City wall against Manchester United – EXCLUSIVE

JOE HART EXCLUSIVE: There was no problem with THAT wall… I don't care what other people say, I know what I am doing!

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

22:15 GMT, 21 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 21 December 2012

From the very first moment, it is clear this will not be a routine interview. Mario Balotelli is in the room and he's not really supposed to be.

'What's this' he enquires, standing at the door. 'It's an interview, Mario.'

'What interview Why' he asks. 'Joe and the Daily Mail. Nothing to do with you.'

Scroll down for the video

Hart stopper: Balotelli did his best to hijack Ian Ladyman's interview with Manchester City stopper Joe Hart

Hart stopper: Balotelli did his best to
hijack Ian Ladyman's interview with Manchester City stopper Joe Hart

'Oh. I will stay and listen,' he affirms, closing the door. So, in a small office off the Manchester City home dressing room, Joe Hart prepares to talk while his controversial team-mate settles himself down, elbows on knees, on the edge of a nearby physio bed.

Over the course of the next half an hour, Balotelli may have learned something about the art of straightforward conversation. No hidden messages from the City goalkeeper, just some candid opinions about the world in which he and his Italian team-mate now live in the wake of last season's Barclays Premier League title success.

'The spotlight shines on us and that's a good thing because it means people are interested and love the game,' says Hart.

Blue moon: Hart has emerged as one of world football's finest goalkeepers in recent years

Blue moon: Hart has emerged as one of world football's finest goalkeepers in recent years

'With the good comes the bad and you have to deal with it. 'The season has been indifferent. We have had two teams, one in Europe and one in the league. We know we haven't been great all the time but we know we have that greatness inside us and when it does come it will put us in a very good place.

'I am in a position where so many people say so many nice things and that's great. But sometimes it's inevitable that you will find someone who doesn't agree and will criticise you. I think it actually pays to listen to those who may be saying things that hurt you at the time. At the end of the day, you may learn something.'

Are you listening to this Mario

Intruder: The controversial strike (centre) sat in on Sportsmail's exclusive interview with Hart

Intruder: The controversial strike (centre) sat in on Sportsmail's exclusive interview with Hart

The day we meet is three days after City were beaten at home by Manchester United in the Premier League.

With one late swish of Robin van Persie's boot, City's two-year unbeaten home record turned to dust and the champions found themselves six points behind their great rivals.

Ten days on, the gap remains and so does the scrutiny of City's play this season. At times some of the analysis has been brutal, from both inside and outside the club.

Hart's own manager Roberto Mancini, for example, blamed his goalkeeper for setting his wall up incorrectly moments before Van Persie's free-kick found the bottom corner, courtesy of Samir Nasri's outstretched leg.

'There was no problem with the wall,' said Hart. 'It's plain to see what happened. The ball was coming straight into my midriff. If it doesn't take a deflection it lands in my hands. But sometimes things happen.

Derby: Hart insists there was nothing wrong with his wall as City conceded against rivals United in the dying moments

Derby: Hart insists there was nothing wrong with his wall as City conceded against rivals United in the dying moments

Derby: Hart insists there was nothing wrong with his wall as City conceded against rivals United in the dying moments

'I don't care what other people say, I know what I'm doing. I know how many people I want in my wall. It cuts you deeply. It will have cut every City fan in that stadium.

'Inches and centimetres make the difference at this level but I have looked at the tape. It's a freak goal but it's nothing new. We train for these things and sometimes it works the other way.

'I have had plenty of times when it has worked in my favour. There have been plenty of times when a player has had all the praise for scoring a great goal. People will say, “What a wonderful goal, he is the best player in the world”. But deep down inside you know you probably should have saved it. But nobody says that, they don't realise. So it cuts both ways. It's life.'

Hart is an avid newspaper reader and watcher of football on TV. He doesn't miss much on or off the field. So he knows, for example, that City were savaged by a Sky TV panel of Didi Hamann, Glenn Hoddle and Ruud Gullit after the defeat in Dortmund that ended the club's European participation for another season. He also knows that former United captain Roy Keane called him 'cocky' while working for ITV. Hart is unfazed.

'I wouldn't want to be called some of the things that people call him [Keane] but there we go,' he said. 'But of course these people have the right to say what they want. I read the papers. I'm a big football fan. It interests me. I like it, good and bad. I wouldn't change it. It's part of the game.

Teamwork: Hart (centre) gets a kick out of his charity work

Teamwork: Hart (centre) gets a kick
out of his charity work

'There is no point thinking, “How dare they say or write that about me”. There is no law saying that people can only say nice things. The people on Sky you mention don't get paid to work for us or to defend English clubs in the Champions League. If that's their opinion then that's great.

'I think it's nice to point out that they don't know the club and have nothing to do with the club and know nothing about what goes on here. They certainly don't know the manager. But it's just the same as people having a conversation outside on the street. People get hyped up and emotional.

'I listen to a lot of people who I hold in high regard. But sometimes your connection with someone makes it hard for them to criticise you so sometimes it does pay to listen to other views.

'I'm no hero. Things hurt me. But things not going well for the team hurts me a great deal more than someone telling me I'm rubbish. I love football and winning. I love City and what we have built here dictates everything about me and my mood.

Net gain: The England international is put through his paces during training for the Premier League champions

Net gains: The England international is put through his paces during training for the Premier League champions

'I have a lot of people who are proud of what I do and it affects them too. But I love that. I love carrying their hopes and dreams.

'When criticism comes what we have to do is be strong internally and pull together and in the same direction. If that's the case then you are OK. This is football. It's how it works. Something else always happens the next day, there is another game a few days later.

'There is no time for personal wars at a football club. You just can't have them. They will ruin you. It's about the team.'

Are you listening to this Mario

Hart's relationship with his manager is interesting. Perhaps his team's best player this season, the England international nevertheless has had to listen to occasional criticism, most notably after Hart publicly apologised on television moments after City lost 3-2 in the Champions League at Real Madrid in September.

Mancini's immediate press conference response was to suggest that 'Joe Hart should stay in goal and make saves'. It's important to understand the context here.

Hart-warming: The former Shrewsbury stopper takes part in charity work for Manchester City

Hart-warming: The former Shrewsbury stopper takes part in charity work for Manchester City

Mark Hughes didn’t rate me. I just had to accept that and find a manager who did

Much as Mancini's English has improved, it is now thought the City boss had taken Hart's comments to be much more critical than they actually were. Nevertheless, it is not the first time the two men have rubbed each other up the wrong way.

Hart is happy to acknowledge that the language barrier doesn't help but it is equally obvious he will not change. After the Dortmund defeat, TV's 'go-to guy' in the City dressing room said of City's spirit: 'I think it was there and then they scored and it disappeared.'

Asked about this during our chat, he said: 'Everybody watches the same game. There is no point hiding from the truth and I feel comfortable speaking. You have to talk about the game relative to what happened. I'm not doing it to impress people. I am doing it because that's how I deal with life.

Poor campaign: City crashed out of Europe after failing to win a match in the group stage of the Champions League

Poor campaign: City crashed out of Europe after failing to win a match in the group stage of the Champions League

'Obviously there are ways of saying things. I don't give my exact opinion on everything. That would be stupid. And in terms of the questions asked about football, I am never gonna dig anyone out personally. But everyone is watching it and the majority of those people know football. So you have to tell it how it is sometimes.

'I have had foreign coaches at England and City. It is what it is. When it gets heated then you will misinterpret things and get things wrong. But it's not important.

'I was very comfortable with what I said in Madrid. I was comfortable because I knew I hadn't said anything wrong. I wasn't particularly angry because I knew that when it was explained properly to him [Mancini] then there would be no problem.'

Hart has come a long way in three years. It is not long ago that he spent a season on loan at Birmingham after City manager Mark Hughes recruited Shay Given as his No 1. At the time he wasn't sure he would ever be back.

Making his mind up: Hart was given the nod over Given under Mancini

Making his mind up: Hart was given the nod over Given under Mancini

I just do anything I can to stop the ball going in. I will take anything for this team

'It was a genuine thought at the time,' he recalled. 'I had no clue what was happening. Shay was one of the best in the Premier League and I thought I may have to go down a different path. Luckily I came back. Not everyone thinks I'm great. The previous manager didn't. I had to accept that and find one that thinks I am.'

Mancini made his choice two and a half seasons ago. Given ended up at Aston Villa and Hart strode forward to establish himself as perhaps the most proficient goalkeeper in the Premier League. Now it's the manager who always seems to be under pressure.

'It's always been the way here,' reflected Hart. 'Look at Sven [Goran Eriksson]. He was apparently sacked ten days before the end of the season! Roberto knows the situation. The only way to deal with the pressure is to win games.'

Hart's attributes are clear from watching him play, while it is equally obvious from talking to him that he has a clear mental picture of what is required from himself and his team-mates if their rather pedestrian form this season is to improve.

'It doesn't matter if you are playing Real Madrid or Bradford, you just have to save whatever comes at you,' he said.

'You can go out in the garden with a five-year-old and he could score past you. If you can't reach it, then you can't save it. It's the same as facing Ronaldo. That's just the way it is.

'The fact is that we have been successful this season without being great, so when it does come we know things will be a great deal easier for us. We know that if we play well we should beat anybody. We are not just waiting for it. We are looking for it every day. Unfortunately it's a tough league but it will happen.

'Part of the difficulty is pressure but it's not that that stops us winning games. Sides know us now, for example. They don't play to win, they play to draw or get out alive. That makes it hard but it's life at the top. I'm not saying we have been terrible because we haven't. It's just nice to know we can do more.

'I think we are on an even par with United. They carry that tradition and that shirt, that red shirt that takes them to a different level sometimes. But I'm sure that over time the blue shirt will be the same.

'I feel that when we play we are never gonna lose. I feel that something will always happen. Maybe it has happened more often with United over the years and so people say it is 'classic United'. But we are beginning to do that too. It just needs two or three players to come good this season and everything will change.

'As for me, I just do anything I can to stop the ball going in the net. I will take anything for this team. I will face any battle, mental or physical.'

Are you listening to this, Mario

After the interview, Hart is set to join Balotelli, Micah Richards and James Milner in meeting a group of children from under-privileged backgrounds. The players give their time generously and enthusiastically for more than an hour.

'I love it,' Hart said. 'It means the world to these kids. It's a great part of my job.'

Later, Hart is to go in goal for some penalties and the mind is taken back to a hot June night in Kiev when the England goalkeeper's goal-line gurning was not enough to stop Andrea Pirlo or to prevent Italy winning a penalty shoot-out in Euro 2012. Any regrets about those faces, then

'Well it didn't work with this one, did it' smiled Hart, glancing over at Balotelli. 'I actually just thought it would help the situation.

Out: England were KO'd from the European Championships by Italy

Out: England were KO'd from the European Championships by Italy

Joe Hart

'One of the Italian players was fuming with me 'cos I had smiled at him as we were waiting for the shoot-out to start. I thought it would help in my favour if I tried to wind the others up. What I didn't know was that guy wasn't even playing! He was injured!

'But it was a crazy, intense moment and people react differently. It was a confidence that I was trying to give off in a very nerve-wracking situation. I felt strong and in control. It felt like the right thing to do. Obviously it wasn't. But I wasn't showing off, I was just trying to do right by my team.

'Would I do it again If I felt it was right then of course, but if I didn't feel it was the right path to go down then I wouldn't. The whole intention was to put the other team off and make them miss.

'Bruce Grobbelaar did it [for Liverpool in Rome in 1984] and it worked. It didn't for me. But that's the fine line that we live and die by. If you are scared of that line then you have no chance.

'I was just the England goalkeeper. I was not trying to set a new trend of how to save penalties. I was just doing what I thought was right.'

By the end of our interview, Balotelli is lying on his back looking at an iPad. Who knows if he has been listening at all to half an hour of common sense and clear logic. If he wasn't then, for a young man in need of professional guidance, it was a clear opportunity missed.